Eldorado National Forest

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General Information

Eldorado National Forest has something for everyone. There are opportunities for hiking, camping, fishing, learning about nature, exploration of wilderness areas, and winter sports.

For hikers, the forest offers over 350 miles of trails that range from shared to hiking-only, high vs. low elevation, and rugged vs. nicely manicured trails.


We currently do not have any record of trailheads in this park.

Routes and Trails You Can Travel

We currently do not have any record of good routes in this park.


The forest has what are called Wilderness Areas. These areas were created and protected by the Wilderness Act of 1964 which states that Wilderness is to be protected and managed in order to preserve its natural conditions. These areas are very good places to find extra solitude and find yourself very far away from most of civilization and be completely immersed in nature.

There are no vehicles of any kind allowed in the wilderness areas. As a result of that, there are no nice and well-manicured trails. Instead, many of the paths are very rugged. This type of terrain is usually good for some serious trekking. If you are a casual hiker, this might not be the best idea for you. If you enjoy being extremely far from civilization and do not mind some serious trekking, the wilderness areas will be very fun for you.

If you do go into the wilderness areas, remember that if you will need help, help will not be able to get to easily get to you or find you. Make sure you have a compass or a GPS unit, and are prepared and trained in outdoor survival skills. Also, do not forget that wilderness areas are home to many wild animals. Some of the animals you may encounter at various California wilderness areas are bears, mountain lions, and a number of other animals that may be dangerous to people.

There are two wilderness areas at Eldorado. One is the Desolation Wilderness which is located along the crest of the Sierras north of Highway 50 between Sacramento and South Lake Tahoe. The other is the Mokelumne Wlderness located along parts of Calaveras, Alpine, and Amador Counties and is bordered by State Highway 4 on the south and State Highway 88 on the north.


One very popular trail is the Pacific Crest Trail. This is a very well known trail throughout Mexico, California, and even Canada because the trail spans over 2600 miles from Mexico all the way north up to Canada. The trail passes through many popular national and state parks through many different types of terrain and elevations.

To be precise, the trail makes its way through 23 National Forests which include inside them a number of wilderness areas where typically the trail is a little less well kept since not as much work can be done to make the trails well manicured. The trail also passes through 7 National Parks, and numerous portions of state, local government, and private lands.

The Desolation Wilderness, which is on the northern end of Eldorado National Forest, is where the Pacific Crest Trail trail enters the park. Hikers who do not like to share the trails with cyclists will be happy to learn that there are no bikes allowed on the trail.

Since the trail enters a wilderness area, a permit is required in the areas where the trail passes through the wilderness. To inquire about getting a permit to enter the wilderness area, please contact Eldorado Forest representatives.

Climate and Weather

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Other Plants

Camping Possibilities

There is plenty of camping opportunities at Eldorado. Many camp sites are at very high altitudes which can be a very unique experience since during many months of the year, these elevations have nice layers of snow.

Overall, there are over 70 sites dedicated to camping for individuals, families, and groups. Reservations are available for some of the facilities for those busy folks who cannot make it up early to grab that perfect camp spot.

Other Information

A popular recreational activity at Eldorado Forest is fishing and angling. There are many lakes, reservoirs, rivers and small streams interspersed throughout the forest. The lakes, rivers and streams have different accommodations for fishing including boat rentals, docks, and beach areas.

Some of the reservoirs are: Bear River Reservoir, Blue Lakes, Caples Lake, Hell Hole Reservoir, Ice House Reservoir, Loon Lake, Silver Lake, Stumpy Meadows Reservoir and Union Valley Reservoir.

Rivers that make their way through the forest are: Middle Fork Cosumnes River, Rubicon River, Silver Fork, American River and the South Fork American River.


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Hiking or Walking Groups Nearby

Group Name: Sacramento Backpacking

Group Description: Sacramento-area based group with a preference for multiple-day excursions into the backcountry.

Upcoming Hikes

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Past Hikes

Cold Creek - Berryesa | 98.6 km away

Date: Friday, 6-17-2011

Description: loop - panoramic views of the lake

Yosemite NP This Weekend! | 91.7 km away

Date: Friday, 6-24-2011

Description: There are 2, with 2 different days and times: Chilnualna Falls Friday AM; A rather uphill, 4 mile one-way hike to outrageous flowing water not normally seen in Yosemite, plus fishing for true "gems"...gorgeous, natural Rainbow trout in pools above the Falls. All "jewels" experience CPR: Catch, Photograph, and Release. Come Saturday: One of the best, best views in all of the Yosemite Valley area, without having to ascend Half Dome: Sentinel Dome instead! It's a 1.5 mile, quite easy-to-moderate-at-the-end stroll/hike...sssshhhhh! Keep this one close to you...so much worth the bit of effort!